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NEWS | Dec. 8, 2010

NRL Partners with Maryland Chesapeake Bay Oyster Restoration Efforts

By Daniel Parry

Located on Maryland's Western Shore, the NRL Chesapeake Bay Detachment (CBD), a 168-acre facility used for research and field testing of radar, remote sensing and optical and laser technologies, is now host to the latest addition to the state's oyster restoration and revitalization effort and the Navy's commitment toward improving overall water quality and enhancing and improving existing wildlife habitats in the Bay.

Working with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, oyster shell substrate and harvested oyster larvae, 'spat,' have been suspended in cages in the waters along the facility's 400-foot pier. The young oysters will remain suspended in cages for their first year of life. Once matured, the adult oysters are planted on local sanctuaries, enriching the Bay ecosystem and contributing to the Bay oyster population.

According to Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Bay's oyster population has been devastated by disease, overharvesting and water quality problems. Initiatives similar to the one at NRL allow oysters to reproduce and hopefully, over time, develop natural resistance to diseases that have imperiled native oysters and other mollusks.

In an announcement made during the Maryland Chesapeake Bay base commander's conference at the U.S. Naval Academy, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus emphasized, We all recognize that what happens in the Chesapeake Bay is not just a concern for the people of the Chesapeake Bay, said Mabus. It affects our entire country. It affects every American.

As the Defense Department's (DoD) Executive Agent, the Department of the Navy is responsible for ensuring all of its 68 DoD installations in the Chesapeake Bay watershed adhere to environmental and clean water standards. The Department of Defense (DoD) has been working to improve the Bay since 1984, when it was the first federal agency to become formally involved in Bay restoration.

The Navy has already made strides toward becoming more environmentally friendly by developing and implementing hybrid fuel-cell technologies, alternative bio-fuels, upgrading wastewater treatment plants at various installations, implementing low-impact development practices to reduce storm water runoff and applying building construction standards in accordance with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification system.

The Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed was developed under executive order issued by President Obama in May 2009.

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